Gor Mahia will return to Kenyan Premier League action this Easter weekend with a high profile encounter against Ulinzi Stars.
Mayienga will be hoping to bury the painful memories of their exit from the CAF Confederation Cup when they play host to the Soldiers on Sunday afternoon at the Kasarani.
Hassan Oktay’s charges came crushing out of the second tier continental cup competition following a 5-1 flogging at the hands of Moroccan side RS Berkane.
As though losing 2-0 during the first leg of the tie in Nairobi wasn’t enough of a wakeup call, the mismanagement surrounding the club in the run up to the return leg ensured that the 17-time KPL champions had little to no fighting chance; with their hopes of advancing into the semifinals of the competition forestalled even before a ball was kicked.
Gor’s trip to North Africa was marred by various controversies such as delayed booking of air tickets by the Ministry of Sports and technical glitches surrounding their flight; blights that saw the team land in Morocco two hours before kickoff.
Whereas Gor CEO Lordvick Aduda lambasted the ministry for failing to make flight arrangements on time due to arrears owed to service providers by the millions, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia had a rebuttal of his own, claiming that the ministry is not responsible for funding clubs, but rather federations and national teams.
Either way, Kenya’s most successful football team fell to a 7-1 aggregate defeat as a result of their 5-1 mauling at the Stade Municipal de Berkane last Sunday; equaling the record for the overall heaviest defeat in the last eight of the competition.
Laba Fo-Doh Kodjo broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 21st minute but Lawrence Ochieng Juma restored parity just three minutes later. The rest of the opening half however proved to be a harrowing one for K’Ogalo who would fell further behind courtesy of strikes by Mohamed Aziz and Bakre Helali.
Issoufou Dayd found the fourth goal twelve minutes after the break, but an already dejected Gor Mahia side conceded the final goal of the encounter through Youseff Essaiydy—four minutes to stoppage time.
The emphatic win ensured RS Berkane booked their place in the semifinals where they are poised for a fiery tie against Tunisian Ligue 1 side, CS Sfaxien, whereas Gor Mahia will have to lick wounds quickly before commencing with their defense of the domestic league title.
Ulinzi Stars overcame a resilient Western Stima side to register a 2-0 win during their midweek SportPesa Premier League encounter at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
Enosh Ochieng, who was making a return to the starting eleven, got the visitors to a flying start in the fifth minute, as the forward connected with Omar Mbongi’s cross to find the back of the net with a diving header.
A pivotal point of the game came in the 14th minute when centre referee Caroline Wanjala pointed to the spot for a penalty after James Ogada was fouled in the area by Brian Birgen, but Ambiko Kote’s take from 12 yards was strongly parried away by goalkeeper James Saruni.
The end-to-end encounter was eventually settled during the closing moments of the game when Ochieng got on the finishing end of a Bernard Ongoma cross to kill the game off with a simplistic tap in.
The win ensured that the Soldiers retained their place in eighth on 32 points; 13 points adrift of leaders Bandari.
Despite their shortcomings on the continental front, Gor Mahia has been on an impressive run of form domestically; churning out six successive wins in the League. The victories have seen Hassan Oktay’s side move to second on the log on 44 points; a meager point behind leaders Bandari despite having played four matches fewer in the Kenyan Premier League.
A clash against the Soldiers should nonetheless make for an entertaining bout, given the nature of the historic rivalry between these two former champions.
Gor Mahia vs. Ulinzi Stars recent results
Gor Mahia 0-2 Ulinzi Stars (September 19, 2018)
Elvis Nandwa 36’
Elvis Nandwa 48’
Ulinzi Stars 0-2 Gor Mahia (June 23, 2018)
Francis kahata 12’
Jacques Tuyisenge 87’
Ulinzi Stars 0-1 Gor Mahia (October 21, 2017)
Meddie Kagere 14’
Gor Mahia 2-2 Ulinzi Stars (July 2, 2017)
Karim-Abdul Nizigiyimana 33’
Mohammed Hassan 56’ (OG)
Stephen Waruru 75’
Stephen Waruru 90’
Gor Mahia 1-0 Ulinzi Stars (September 14, 2016)
George Odhiambo 41’
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